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What should I do about a grievance?
We are often asked to advise clients on what to do about a grievance. But first of all, you have to establish if the complaint is actually a grievance or not! This may seem straight forward, but it can be a difficult issue.
Firstly, an employee does not have to state that they wish to raise a grievance; they simply have to bring a complaint to their supervisor or manager. This can be either verbal or written.
When a supervisor or manager becomes aware of an issue, they must take all reasonable steps to resolve it. A verbal complaint is informal and so can be dealt with relatively quickly. While there is no requirement for written documents, you should use your judgement on the seriousness of the issue and always make a written record. The record could be something as simple as a note in your diary with the details of the issue and the outcome. Or perhaps a written file note in an employee’s file. This will be helpful if the situation continues or escalates.
This is a formal grievance raised by an employee in writing. It can be by an email or letter. It doesn’t have to state that it is a grievance and it doesn’t have to be signed or dated. Any form of written complaint should be treated as a formal grievance.
There is a statutory grievance procedure that you should follow, even if you are unsure if the employee intends the complaint to be a grievance or not. You can access your free grievance procedure by clicking here – free grievance procedure.
In short, you should meet with the employee and give them the opportunity to explain their issue in full and indicate what they feel would be a suitable resolution. You should then decide what, if any, action is required. It is possible to deny a grievance if you feel there is no action required. However, if the complaint is substantial, you may need to take disciplinary action against the offender.
You should always be mindful of any potential discrimination issues. Grievances may not always be straight forward and may also cross over with disciplinaries or absences. If you feel things are becoming complicated, it is vital that you get professional HR advice to avoid any tribunal claims which may arise.
Our HR advisors are fully qualified and experienced in handling complex grievance issues and are here to help you manage your grievance safely.
Contact us on 01382 250333.